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Senate adjourns for second time after Linturi arrest drama

Meru Senator Mithika Linturi.[File, Standard]

The Senate has adjourned following reports of the arrest of Meru Senator Mithinka Linturi.

The Senate had convened for the afternoon session to debate the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

Police reports indicate the Senator was arrested over suspected forgery but shortly released on free bond.

He was ordered to report to the DCI offices on Thursday morning.

The legislators protested the arrest saying the session would only proceed after the Senator was released.

Linturi is said to have been arrested on his way to the Senate buildings.

“Mr Speaker a member of parliament on his way to parliament or when the parliament is session should not be arrested without speaker's consent. I have been a victim, and if we let it continue, policemen will someday storm these chambers and arrest the speaker,” Siaya Senator James Orengo protested.

Orengo said a time has come for the Speaker to candidly communicate with the other arms of government to sort out the mess.

“Until we have a proper answer as to why Linturi was arrested, this house should adjourn until further notice,” Orengo protested.

Speaker Kenneth Lusaka granted the request to allow time to inquire about the arrest.

During the morning session, Lusaka granted another request to adjourn the sitting after members protested that they needed time to read the documents.

The sitting had been pushed to 2.30pm.

 “Following the request to read, I hereby allow the request. The Senate stands adjourned until 2.30pm today,” the speaker ruled.

In a heated session, senators insisted they be provided with hard copies of the Joint National Assembly and Senate's Justice and Legal Affairs (JLAC) committee report on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill.

Senators had been provided with the soft copy of the report but Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula stood on a point of order and demanded that they be provided with the hard copy before the debate.

"We want the hard copy of the document circulated, you need to underline points that you need to build your case, how do you underline the document on the iPad. Give us at least this morning to read the report," said  Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula.

The senator suggested that they open the document to review arguing that it cannot have been the wisdom and intention of the framers of the Constitution to make Parliament a bystander in the law-making process.

"We must open ourselves in our thinking so that we can bisect and dissect so that we give Kenyans something that is important and move it forward. We nee, as a House, to look at the national mood. As we want to help the country, we must remember that the foundation of the 2010 Constitution and the philosophy therein was to right the wrongs of the country," said Wetang'ula.

Sen. Orengo said members could not read the document on their phones and computers.

"We need to take the report and the annexures so that the senators can understand the document," said Orengo.

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior said senators should be given the report to appreciate the joint committee's work.

Nyamira Senator Okong'o Omogeni said he was willing to take the senators through the report in a Kamukunji of the House.

"Mr Speaker as we go out to read the document if you can allow me I can use the opportunity in a Kamukunji to take the members through the document so that they can be up to speed with the report," he said.

But Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei differed with Omogeni, saying every senator should be allowed to have an independent opinion.

"We might attend your Kamukunji and you use it to indoctrinate our minds to understand it your way," said Cherargei.

JLAC presented the controversial report to the Speaker on Monday after they finished writing it on Friday.

Download the BBI Judgement by all seven Judges - Civil Appeal No. E291 of 2021
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